Thursday, October 04, 2007

Heritage of Loss

Well ESPN has gone and hurt my feelings. Earlier this week one of their writers wrote a nice piece about how the Cubs had a chance. Now they have an article up begging them not to:

Postseason wish: Please, Cubbies, don't win the Series

The Cubs must go down. It must be gruesome, painful and tragic. They must, like Icarus and his wax wings, come tantalizingly close, and then, like Wile E. Coyote and his ubiquitous anvil, plummet to the canyon floor.


Their story is 99 years in the making. Ninety-nine years! It predates the computer, television and 24-hour talk radio. It's as much a part of American folklore as Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed and Jesse James. This story has been forged as surely and steadily as any railroad spikes driven by the mighty John Henry (though Chicago's were usually driven directly into the heart).

Think of what's lost if the Cubs win the World Series. History takes a beating. Something truly unique, something so deep and rich in pathos, it wordlessly bonds fans throughout the country and around the world, shrivels up and dies. Winning is no bond. Winning is as fleeting as post-coital bliss; a breathless flush in the cheeks, an endorphin rush to the neurons, and then it's gone. Losing abides. Losing lingers, painfully, yes, but constantly. Winning might bathe you in glory, but it does not define you. Someone snatches it away too quickly for that. Losing, more than something you do, is something you are. The Cubs are losers. This isn't sad. It's noble. It's brave. It's timeless.

I don't know about you, but when your history, pastime, or heritage is something bad... you don't purposely try to protect it.

The Cubs World Series drought may be a part of American heritage at this point... but call me crazy if I don't support continuing it. You won't see me waving any confederate flags either, heritage or not.

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